Uncanny X-Men Annual (5th series) #1

Issue Date: 
March 2019
Story Title: 
The Return of Cyclops

Ed Brisson (writer), Carlos Gomez (artist), Guru-eFX (colorist), Virtual Calligraphy's Joe Caramagna (letterer), Salvador Larroca & Rachelle Rosenberg (cover artists), Eduard Petrovich (variant cover artist), Jeff Powell (title page designer), Chris Robinson (assistant editor), Jordan D White (editor), C B Cebulski (editor-in-chief), Joe Quesada (chief creative officer), Dan Buckley (president), Alan Fine (executive producer)
X-Men created by Stan Lee & Jack Kirby

Brief Description: 

Several years ago, Cyclops was taking a vacation away from the X-Men, and visited Cambridge, Massachusetts, where a large robot was wreaking havoc at the university. Cyclops intervened, and discovered a disgruntled former professor of the university controlling the robot with a helmet. Cyclops fired an optic blast, knocking the helmet off the professor, Tierney, who was taken into custody. One of the students was so overcome with gratitude that he rushed up to Cyclops, thanking him for saving him, as his wife was expecting their first child. His name is Paul Douek, he was the man who was responsible for the unstable Tierney getting fired, and hopes that he can do something to repay the favor to Cyclops. Ten years later, Paul Douek is looking for a midnight snack in his fridge, when the young time-displaced Cable appears before him. Cable reminds Paul how Cyclops saved him, and now he needs that favor repaid. Cable shows Paul, a brilliant scientist, the Phoenix cage, and explains that he needs him to build a new one, about an inch big, and that he has two years to do it. Cable then vanishes. Two years later, Cable and Paul are on Muir Island in the pouring rain, watching the X-Men mourn Cyclops. They got into a lab, where Cyclops' body remains, and cut into his chest, where they place the small device which Cable explains will trap the Phoenix Force inside Cyclops. In the afterlife, Cyclops meets Jean Grey. They kiss, and part of the Phoenix Force is transported inside Cyclops, becoming trapped in the device that was placed inside him. Several weeks ago, Cyclops uses and optic blast to burst through the ground where he was buried on Muir Island. Cable and Paul are waiting for him and take him to Cable's undisclosed safehouse. Cable explains to Cyclops what has happened, and Cyclops thanks Paul for saving him. One week later, Cyclops is getting angsty, he wants to get out there, back into the world, but Cable tells him that he isn't ready. Another week after that, Tierney is released from prison and seeks vengeance on Paul Douek. After Cable returns the time-displaced original X-Men to their true time period, he explains to Cyclops why the older Cable is gone – because he refused to keep the timeline secure. Cable breaks down about Cyclops' death, telling him that succumbing to a virus was not the way he should have gone, which is why he went to such lengths to restore him to life. Cyclops tells Cable that he can't keep him here, that there are people who need him. Cable tells Cyclops that he needs to prove something – and informs him that right now, Professor Tierney is seeking revenge on Paul Douek, while the X-Men are battling X-Man – and if they fail, they will be no more. Cyclops is confused as to why Cable would make him choose between the two, and Cable tells him that he needs to know what type of man has come back from the grave. Cyclops arrives at Paul's home and easily defeats Professor Tierney once more. The next day, Cyclops and Cable arrive at the island where the X-Men were battling X-Man, and find it deserted. Cyclops reminisces about his actions since the fateful battle with the Avengers, and admits that he was wrong. He then vows that he will find the X-Men and set things right.

Full Summary: 

Several weeks ago:
Muir Island, where the rain beats down, and the sea crashes against the island cliffs. The gravesite of Scott Summers a.k.a. Cyclops is pounded by the rain, too – when suddenly, there is a rumbling, then a powerful burst of optic energy breaks up through the ground, opening the grave. There is silence, only the rain continues to fall – then a hand reaches up from the open grave – and Scott Summers pulls himself out. 'How...?' he utters.

Several years ago – a promise made:
Cambridge, Massachusetts, where Scott Summers walks down a busy city sidewalk, wearing a green suit, he can't believe that he managed to sneak away from the mansion for a little vacation time. He isn't sure what it is, but something has been drawing him to Cambridge, a voice inside his head, nudging him to come here. 'Oh my!' someone on a bicycle suddenly calls out. 'Get out of my way, you fool!' another exclaims as he bumps into Cyclops, pushing past him. 'Oh my Lord! What is that thing?' a woman asks, pointing towards where a large robot is stomping through the city, roaring. A fire is ablaze at a nearby building as dozens of civilians run in fear. 'Run for your life!' one of them calls out. 'There are people still inside!' another exclaims. 'Oh my God, oh my God' one of them mutters, while Cyclops announces that those people may need help. He starts to remove his suit, revealing his X-Men costume underneath, and knows that he needs to hurry, before the monster brings down that school on their heads.

'Please, that thing is attacking the science lab! There are people in there!' a woman calls out. Cyclops tells her not to worry, and to get herself to safety, while he make sure her friends get out of their in one piece. Cyclops arrives near the robot and fires an optic blast at it, telling himself that he needs to distract the robot and get him away from the building. 'Hey, ugly! Just because you don't have no class doesn't mean you've got to wreck the school!' Cyclops calls out to the robot, who turns towards  him and starts to give chase. 'That's right, follow me!' Cyclops calls out, while firing more optic energy at the robot.

Nearby, a middle-aged man wears a strange metal helmet and watches, annoyed: 'That meddling mutant is going to ruin my chance at revenge!' he exclaims, before calling the robot Straggon and ordering it to stop the mutant, to crush him into powder. Straggon stomps the ground, knocking Cyclops off his feet. 'That man... he's controlling the robot. If I can stop him, then maybe I can end this' Cyclops thinks to himself as he looks over at the man nearby.

Cyclops dodges the robot, Straggon, as it lunges at him, and thinks that he can't save anyone if this robot pounds him into a pancake. He moves closer to the other man and asks him what his game plan is here. 'I was their best professor until they decided to shut me out!' the old man responds, claiming that the students were afraid of his big ideas, so they went to the dean and had him fired. 'They ruined my life! He shouts. 'They took my job and took my lab! Everything I ever cared about!' He boasts that now it is time for him to return the favor, that he will destroy their lives like they destroyed his. 'They didn't destroy your life! Your pettiness did!' Cyclops declares as he fires an optic blast which strikes the professor's helmet, knocking it from his head, and, just as Cyclops thought, the robot, Straggon, falls to the ground with a loud crash. 'Without him to control it, the robot is nothing more than a heap of scrap metal' Cyclops remarks as he looks over at the professor, who lies on the ground.

Shortly, a police cordon has been set up and the professor is led away, while a police officer shakes Cyclops' hand and tells him that some of the other fellas on the force think mutants are a menace – but there is no denying that if he wasn't here today, these kids wouldn't have made it out of that jam alive. 'Just doing my duty, officer' Cyclops responds. Several students rush up to Cyclops, one of them thanking him, one of them exclaims that he thought they were goners for sure. 'Man... Professor Tierney was off his rocker!' a young woman declares. Another of the students remarks that this is a shame, as he was so smart – if only he tried to do good with that big old brain of his. A fourth student, a young man with brown hair and glasses approaches Cyclops, and thanks him, before admitting that he was the one who ratted on ProfessorTavin Tierney to the faculty. 'It was me he was after. You saved me' the young man utters. He then informs Cyclops that his wife and he are expecting their first child. 'If he'd killed me... if I hadn't gotten home to her... to them... I... thank you' he utters, throwing his arms around Cyclops, hugging him. 'You're welcome' Cyclops smiles as he hugs the young man. Tears fall down his face as he introduces himself as Paul Douek and tells Cyclops there is ever anything he can do to repay the favor, to look him up and let him know.

Ten years later – a favor repaid:
Boston, Massachusetts, in the dead of night, 'Where'd the rest of those leftovers go?' a man with brown hair, wearing a singlet mutters as he looks into the refrigerator. 'You need to cut out the leftovers, Paul. You're getting a little soft around the middle' a voice calls out. 'Who...? I'm calling the police!' Paul exclaims as he turns and discovers the young man known as Cable sitting on the bench nearby. Cable introduces himself and informs Paul that he isn't here to hurt him, he just needs his help. 'Also, I've cut your phone lines. And disabled your alarm system. You're not calling anyone' Cable adds. Paul is quick to tell Cable that he has a wife and a kid, that he can take whatever he wants, but to not hurt his family. Cable ignores that as he reminds Paul that ten years ago, Cyclops saved his life, and tells him that it is time for him to return the favor. Cable looks at a strange piece of red equipment that appears to be broken.

'What... what is this? And how... I mean... what does this have to do with Cyclops?' Paul enquires. Cable explains that this is a Phoenix cage, or what is left of it, that the Avengers built it in an attempt to contain the Phoenix Force, only it didn't survive the encounter, and he needs Paul to build a new one. Paul looks at the equipment and remarks that it looks very complex and there is a lot of it missing. 'What makes you think -' Paul begins, before Cable points at him and tells him that he knows about him, that he was top of his class at MIT, one of Tony Stark's sharpest employees. 'I picked you for a reason' Cable adds. 'Trap the Phoenix Force...is that even possible?' Paul asks, looking under the cage. Cable tells him that he doesn't know, and that it doesn't matter, as he doesn't need to trap the Phoenix Force – all he needs is for Paul to build something that can siphon off a small portion of the Phoenix Force that is willingly running through it.

'You've got about two years to figure it out' Cable adds as he climbs off the kitchen bench. 'Oh. And it has to be smaller' Cable announces. 'How much smaller?' Paul asks. Cable holds his thumb and index finger about an inch apart: 'This small' he declares. 'See you in two years' Cable remarks, before he vanishes, bodysliding by one. 'Wait! Wait... not, there's no way -' Paul calls out, but Cable is gone. 'Great' Paul mutters.

Two years later – the first time Scott Summers died:
Muir Island, where the rain beats down on a group of X-Men gathered to mourn the loss of Scott Summers. Cable – the older one – is there, along with Magik, Iceman, Forge, Goldballs and Beast. The time-displaced Marvel Girl, Iceman and Angel are there, too. Storm addresses them and remarks that life as a mutant sometimes feels like a constant fight for their species' survival against impossible odds. Watching from behind some rocks on a cliff nearby are the younger, time-displaced Cable, and Paul Douek, who utters 'He's...really gone'. 'Yeah' Cable replies. Paul remarks that he knows that recently Cyclops had really gone off the rails, and people hated him. 'But...I always had hope, you know? Hope that he'd somehow come to his senses. That he'd...he'd remember who he was, that he would wake up one day and be the same kid who saved my life in college'. Cable tells Paul that they don't have much time, before they vanish as Cable bodyslides by two.

They re-appear inside a dark lab on Muir Isle, where the body of Scott Summers has been placed on a table. Paul is confused: 'If he's still here, then who are they burying out there?' he asks. 'Another of Emma Frost's mind games' Cable explains, declaring that Emma has perverted Cyclops' memory and used it to incite a war between mutants and the Inhumans, and now, she isn't even giving him the dignity of a proper burial. 'Let's get this over with' Cable suggests, as Paul opens a bag and pulls tiny device from it. 'And you're certain this'll work?' Cable asks. 'No' Paul replies. He pulls Cyclops' shirt down and reminds Cable that the Phoenix Force destroyed the Phoenix cage, that he tried to account for the extra surge of power, but there was no way for him to properly test it. 'In theory, it should work... however, it could just as easily overload and fail. Depends on the intensity of the Phoenix Force' Paul explains as he slices a scalpel down Cyclops' muscular chest. Cable holds up the small device that Paul took from the bag and remarks that last time the Phoenix Force was trying to protect itself. 'This time... it will be giving itself willingly'.

Several months ago – the second time Scott Summers died:
'I thought about you every single day' Jean Grey utters to Cyclops, the two of them embracing. Jean wears a black and red Phoenix costume. They lean into kiss, and this sparks the small device inside Cyclops' chest, a small portion of the Phoenix Force entering the device. 'I'll always love you, Jean Grey' Cyclops vows. 'I'll always love you too, Scott Summers' Jean responds, when suddenly, Cyclops gasps for breath and collapses, while the Phoenix Force hovers above he and Jean, and the device inside Cyclops' chest begins to glow.

Several weeks ago:
Scott crawls from his grave, into puddles that form on the ground around him. 'Welcome back' a voice calls out. Scott looks up to see the young time-displaced Cable standing over him. '... Dad' Cable adds, while Paul stands nearby, and the shocked Cyclops utters 'CABLE?'

Shortly, inside Cable's safehouse, which is at an undisclosed location, 'Thank you' Cyclops tells Paul, who hands him a cup of tea. 'It's...I don't know what to say' Paul replies, while Cable leans against a counter nearby. Paul smiles, 'When you saved my life all those years ago... I never thought I'd have the chance to pay you back. I still can't believe it worked'. Cyclops sips his tea and admits that he still isn't sure what happened, that the last thing he remembers is walking into the lab on Muir Island – and then he thinks he died – but Jean was there – only it felt like a dream. 'But it wasn't... was it?' Scott asks, looking over at Cable.

'The Phoenix Force brought you back in an attempt to convince Jean to stay with it' Cable explains, adding that Jean was too strong for it, though, and that she knew that it wouldn't let her be free. Paul informs Cyclops that they built a tiny machine made up of small infinity coils designed to siphon off power from the Phoenix force, to store the force, charging itself up until it could be focused. 'It's pretty ingenious, if I can be so bold' Paul adds. 'We built this device and put it...well...we...put it inside of you' he reveals to Cyclops. 'And... bam. You're back. Just like that' Paul points out. 'Thank you' Cyclops replies. Paul puts his hand on Scott's and tells him thank you, reminding him that he saved his life, that he has a wife and a son. 'If you hadn't saved me. I never would have been there for them. My son would never have known his father' Paul adds, tears streaming down his face, while Cyclops watches him.

One week later:
Cyclops has ditched his black and red costume and is wearing his dark blue costume with yellow trim. 'I need to leave. I need to go see Jean' he announces, but Cable tells him that he can't. 'You can't keep me cooped up in here, Cable' Scott replies. He tells Cable that he appreciates everything he has done ofr him, but that he has been gone too long and has to go. 'You're not ready yet' Cable replies as he examines one of his large weapons without even looking at his father. 'Ready for what?' Cyclops asks, frustrated. 'You'll know when the time comes' Cable responds, putting his cloak on, he informs Cyclops he will be back, before bodysliding by one, and vanishing. 'Dammit!' Cyclops shouts, slamming his fists down on a table.

One week later:
Outside the Lancaster Maximum Security Correctional Center, in Shirley, Massachusetts:
'You're a free man now, Tavin. Hope we never have to see you inside these walls again' a prison guard calls out as the elderly Professor Tierney walks away from the prison. He sits on a bus that takes him to an old, run-down house. He stands outside the house and looks at it for some time, before walking inside. It's dark, dusty and full of cobwebs. He goes over to the door under the inside staircase. There is a padlock on it, but the lock is open. 'Daddy's home' Tierney calls out from the open door, which leads down to the basement. 'Did you miss me?' Tierney asks as he walks down into the basement, which is a mess, with computers, robots and other equipment scattered throughout. 'What...? Someone's been here' Tierney realizes, as he finds a note stuck to one of the robots – the note has Paul's name and address on it.

Back in Cable's safehouse, Cable hands Cyclops a rootbeer as Cyclops remarks 'You... you sent the younger X-Men back to their own time. I... it's like I experienced it. Like I was there' Cyclops adds, informing Cable that he has his memories now – his younger self. 'They never should have been here in the first place' Cable replies. 'And you... you killed Cable... your older -' Cyclops begins. 'No' the young Cable responds. He points a finger on the table and leans across to his father, declaring that he retired an older, less effective version of himself. 'The older me was screwing up. He let those kids stay here and the results could have destroyed the X-Men – destroyed entire futures. I prevented those possibilities, because that's my job'. Cable then knocks back his rootbeer and explains that he keeps the timeline in order.

'Then how come I'm not still dead?' Cyclops asks. 'Because...' Cable begins to reply, turning away from Cyclops. 'If you're so concerned with maintaining the timeline that you'd kill my son in order to fix it -' Cyclops begins. 'I AM YOUR SON!' Cable shouts, before he upturns the table, 'Because it wasn't right!' he exclaims, throwing his arms into the air. Cable covers his face with his hands as he tells Cyclops 'You're... you're their leader. Their hope. For you to die on your knees from a damned infection? From mist? That's not the way that it should have gone down. I couldn't let it end that way'. Cyclops watches Cable, then goes over to him, kneeling beside him, he tells him that he is right, and that given the chance to save someone he loved, then absolutely, he would have done whatever it takes. 'But you can't keep me here. What's the point in bringing me back if you're just going to hold me prisoner?' Scott asks. He moves away from Cable and points out that there are people out there who need him, so Cable needs to let him go. Cable looks up: 'Fine' he replies, before telling Cyclops that he needs him to prove something to him first.

Cable informs Cyclops that right now, the X-Men are fighting on an island in Canada – they are fighting the biggest threats they've ever faced, and they need all hands on deck – but if they fail, the X-Men will be no more. Cyclops frowns as he listens to this, while Cable tells him that in Boston, a madman is planning his revenge on Paul Douek – the man responsible for every bad thing that's ever happened to him, and the man who returned Cyclops to life. 'Saving one means failing the other. You have to choose' Cable announces. 'No' Cyclops replies, gritting his teeth. 'Then they all die' Cable points out. 'You did this?' Cyclops asks. Cable tells him to choose. 'Why would? You...?' Cyclops begins, to which Cable explains that he has to know what type of man came back from the grave.

On Quadra Island, Canada, 'I only sought to create a world where mutantkind could finally be at peace!' X-Man, in the body of Legion, calls out as he and his Horsemen of Salvation – Storm, Magneto, Blob and Omega Red – battle Jean Grey, Iceman, Archangel, Nightcrawler, Colossus, Jubilee, Armor and Glob. X-Man declares that he now sees that it is not possible, that the X-Men have been, and always will be, all too eager to cut off their own noses just to spite their faces, that they can only find peace in chaos.

In Boston:'Run!' Paul calls out to his wife and son. 'Dad? What's happening?' Paul's son asks. Paul calls his son Emmett and tells him that it is going to be okay, that he just needs to get to gthe basement, as Professor Tierney stands in the Doueks' living room, and declares 'Thirteen years! Thirteen years of my life, of my work, all lost because of you!' Paul starts to close the basement door, telling Emmett to look after his mother while he tries and leads them away. 'Dad, no...you can't...' Emmett calls out, but Paul tells his son that he needs him to be brave. 'All right...my family has nothing to do eith this. You leave them alone!' Paul calls out, armed with a firepoker, he turns to face Professor Tierney, who has a dozen robots at his side, and wears his strange helmet that enables him to command the robots. Tierney tells Paul that he is in no position to make demands. 'You stole from me, I'm going to do the same to you' he remarks, adding that he is going to make him watch as he does – make him suffer for what he has done. 'Robots. Bring his family to me' Tierney frowns, when suddenly, one of the robots of knocks aside by an optic blast.

'I won't lie... that felt pretty good' Cyclops announces as he stands in a gaping hole in the wall. 'Cyclops!' Paul gasps. 'Not you again' Professor Tierney mutters, ordering his robots to attack. 'You'd think after 13 years away you'd find a way to hide your weakness' Cyclops points out as he fires a blast at Tierney, knocking his helmet from his head. Tiernet falls to the ground, and Cyclops remarks that some people never learn. 'I can't believe it... you saved me again. Thank you' Paul utters. 'No, Paul. Thank you for bringing me back' Cyclops replies.

The next day, on the shore of Quadra Island, British Columbia. The flood has subsided, and Cyclops and Cable stand with the water lapping at their feet. Cyclops recalls that the X-Men's fight with the Avengers had its first punch thrown on a beach. 'Charles died...I killed Charles...on a beach. And now...the X-Men are gone. Vanished from this beach. If I never see another beach again for as long as I live...' Cyclops utters. He turns to Cable and tells him that he was furious. Furious that it looked like mutants were on the verge of extinction – angry that the world they had spent their entire lives trying to protect could try to snuff them out like that. 'After a life of trying to prove that we fit in. That mutants and humans could...should...live as one, I...I did the same thing that everyone I'd been fighting had done. Put my species above theirs. I became the monster they feared' Cyclops remarks, admitting that it was wrong, that he was wrong. He hangs his head and points out that now the X-Men are done. 'What are you going to do about it?' Cable asks. Cyclops looks out over the water, with Cable at his side, he announces that he is going to find the X-Men – and set it right.

Characters Involved: 


Archangel, Colossus, Iceman, Jean Grey, Jubilee, Nightcrawler, Storm (all X-Men)
Armor & Glob (X-Men students)
Blob, Magneto, Omega Red, Storm (all Horsemen of Salvation)

Pau Douek
Paul's wife and son, Emmett

Professor Tierney

Prison guard

several years ago:
Paul Douek
Professor Tierney
Police officers

ten years ago:
Paul Douek

two years later:
Beast, Forge, Iceman, Magik, Storm (all X-Men)
Angel, Iceman, Marvel Girl (all time-displaced original X-Men)

several months ago:
Jean Grey

Story Notes: 

Cyclops died in the Death of X limited series.

He was shown to have returned to life on the last page of Extermination #5 and briefly appeared on the last two pages of Uncanny X-Men (5th series) #10, following the disappearance of nearly all of the X-Men.

First appearance of Paul Douek.

The Phoenix cage was built in Secret Avengers (1st series) #26.

The meeting of Jean Grey and Cyclops “several months ago” took place in the Phoenix Resurrection: The Return of Jean Grey mini series.

Cable sent the time-displaced original X-Men back to their own time in Extermination #5.

The time-displaced Cable killed his older self in Extermination #1.

The panel which depicts the X-Men battling X-Man and his Horsemen on Quadra Island clearly shows Storm twice – in her X-Men costume pre-transformation and post transformation into one of the Horsemen!

Cyclops killed Professor X in Avengers vs X-Men #11.

Written By: